Saratoga Hotel, Luxurious and Seductive
By Nidia Rodriguez Leon, Photos: Courtesy of Saratoga Hotel
The Saratoga Hotel has been famous for its Aires Libres or "Open air" since 1930s. Rising majestically from the historical intersection of Prado and Dragones streets, it provides a view of numerous Cuban landmarks such as the National Capitol building, the Gran Theatre of Havana, the Partagas Cigar Factory, the white marble Fountain de la India, and Central Park. Restored just last year, the Saratoga is open again under the management of the Saratoga Hotel S.A. joint venture run by the Habaguanex tourist company. The Saratoga was chosen as one of the 60 best new hotels in the world by Condé Nast Traveller magazine.
During is reconstruction, it was possible to preserve only a portion of the facade of the orignal hotel. The current facility incorporates this facade and accentuates elements of the original building such as the main atrium, the huge windows made of French woodwork and the large porch which provides a charming welcome to visitors.
General Manager Luis Enrique Romagosa informed us that the Saratoga has 96 rooms including seven suites where modern comforts and the luxury of the original época have been combined.
Romagosa referred to the new uses of space in the hotel with seven floors of rooms and attractive options such as the suites, four on the corners, and three duplex. These are also two rooms for people with disabilities and twelve for smokers.
In its time, the Saratoga hosted the performances of popular groups such as as the prominet Anacaona Oschestra which came into the spotlight in this hotel in the 1930s. Honouring that band, the restaurant bar on the first floor is named after them.
A superb and magnificent view of Havana Bay and major areas of the city can be enjoyed from the rooftop terrace where the restaurant-bar Saratoga Viewpoint, the swimming pool and the gym are located.
Traditional elements, the latest and most advanced technologies, and expressions of Cuban culture are combined inside the hotel. Artist Luis Ramirez made the original drawings reproduced on the ceramics in the bathrooms and for the mural under the fanlight of the mezzanine bar depicting the Cuban landscape.The mural itself was painted by architect and painter Juan Carlos Pérez Botello who also produced the huge mural in the concert hall in the San Francisco de Asis Convent in Old Havana.
Built in an ideal location, the Saratoga Hotel will entertain the tourist who enjoys visiting cultural sites and experiencing the night life in Havana and those wanting a closer look at the interesting characteristics and idiosyncrasies of Old Havana.